Head Start students get jump on art lessons

By Julia Green
Ben Stiller’s latest museum installment, “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” hit theaters on May 22, but some local schoolchildren enjoyed their own take on the concept last Wednesday.
Arkville Head Start students participated in “Family Night at the Museum” Wednesday morning at the Arkville Firehall. The event incorporated “Picturing America,” an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities that offers a set of 40 high-quality, color reproductions of American art that range from paintings, sculpture, photographs and architecture to book arts, decorative arts and fine crafts. “Picturing America” was then expanded to include “A Head Start on Picturing America,” which offers a flexible blueprint to guide and enhance interaction with the art.
Local Head Start students arrived at the firehall to find their own artwork displayed amid classic paintings like Mary Cassatt’s “The Boating Party” (1893-94) and John Singer Sargent’s “Portrait of a Boy” (1890). Students also had the opportunity to create new masterpieces on any number of tables with craft supplies set out, including a clay table and a station at which they could find cutouts and paste to make collages.
And, for the added “Night at the Museum” effect, students were provided with small flashlights and the lights were lowered, giving them an opportunity to seek out their artwork in the dark.
For more information about the “Picturing America” initiative, visit picturingamerica.neh.gov.